Powder-Monkey

I read at a Pride fundraiser last night – a lovely event where various intrepid writers went off for twenty minutes to create pieces based around words shouted out by the audience. The quality of what they managed to make was really impressive and highly entertaining.

It fell to me to amuse those remaining for the intervening twenty minutes…And the second piece I performed contained the following villanelle, based around the terms ‘Monkey Hangers’ (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey_hanger ) and ‘Powder Monkey’ (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powder_monkey ).

Here’s the poem:

Powder-Monkey

My hands and their eyes turned the pitchest of black
The sea waves the same to a creature or boy
So they’ll say that a monkey hangs over the deck.

For the days and leagues before we were wracked
The Captain’s tide turned; there were no ships ahoy,
My hands and their eyes turned thepitchest of black.

With Napoleon’s garb buttoned up to my neck
In my tiny cockade, a mechanical toy:
So they say that a monkey hangs over the deck.

When the gulls formed an Empire and started to peck,
The crew’s tattered bodies became Trompe-l’œil:
My hands and their eyes turned the pitchest of black.

When our enemy’s land became more than a speck
Sail-wrapped and mast-snapped, too numb to feel joy
They’ll say that a monkey hangs over the deck.

I wanted to plead but my salty tongue cracked,
The court on the sand didn’t know the word ‘boy’:
My hands and their eyes went the pitchest of black
As they cheer that a monkey hangs over the deck.

I also read a story, which I’ll pop up on my Skylab Stories blog, as it’s more of the psychadelic Victoriana…

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